Home is where you hang your heart, not only your hat. When Phil died, the four walls of my home became both a refuge and a prison. I hated going out; I hated staying in.
The outside world was too bright. I felt blinded by other people's lightness, innocent happiness, and especially by their apparent disregard for the fact that the world had stopped.
I kept forgetting that their world didn't necessarily halt because mine did. I remember very clearly (and it has been 1,981 days) that when I was in public I felt see through, as if there was no substance to me.
But when I was home the familiarity was excruciating. Everywhere I looked there was some misleading evidence that Phil would be right back. Shoe in the corner, lunchbox on top of the fridge, toothbrush in the holder...all signs that the owner of these items had just stepped out. Loneliness seeped from my pores and left a miserable residue on every surface. Home wasn't home. There is a line from a Mercy Me song (Homesick) that best described this feeling for me: "If home's where my heart is, then I'm out of place." Oh how I ached to be home.
Then I found you. This community became a safe, homey place. My widowed friends held bits of my heart for me while I picked up the pieces that were scattered by the winds of grief. Each time I found another sliver, I could just hand it to the people who would eventually help me work out how those fractured shards could once again take the shape of something beautiful.
On the blog this week this comment was addressed anonymously to a new reader who is hoping that finding this community will help him deal with his loss:
"Come back here. To this blog. I can tell you - it saved my life. I almost didn't make it this winter, it was too painful. It was a very dark time. When it was at its worst, I came here. To the place where others understood. Where someone knew what it felt like to not want to carry on. The widows voice community has offered such wisdom and support and hope. That I can say now 7 months from my spouses death. I am doing better than I was. I still have dark days and hard nights but when I do - I know I am not alone. I come here and read the stories and hear the way others have coped and I know I can carry on. I hope you do return."
Thank you anonymous.
This is what I mean by home. You are home to me, and we are home to each other, and as you heal, grow, and make your way through this whole new crazy widowed world...I hope you will always remember that one home is only a click away.
Photo: Six parts of your Widow's Voice home at Camp Widow 2010